It’s hard to imagine the economic power of small businesses in America because they are…well, ”small.” Individually, they don’t attract much attention. But day after day, small businesses represent the fulfillment of dreams, income for their founders and a big part of our economy.
When President Trump issued a proclamation prior to Small Business Week this past May. It cited the latest figures from the Small Business Administration:
- There are 30 million small businesses in America
- 10 million are women-owned
- 29 percent are minority-owned
- 10 percent are veteran-owned
- 59 million workers, more than one-third of our country’s labor force, are employed by American small businesses
GDP, or Gross Domestic Product, is a quantitative measure of the United States’ total economic activity. The U.S. has a GDP of almost $17 trillion, and small business produces $8.5 trillion, or roughly half of that amount.
Ahmad El-Najjar, a marketing writer for the small business site Townsquared, adds another perspective:
Entrepreneurship has always been a gateway for under-represented populations, especially minorities, women, and LGBTQ communities. Despite the challenges of equality of access to resources like funding, loans, and societal barriers, entrepreneurship is one gateway to economic mobility.
Of the 30 million small businesses in the United States, more than 22 million are individually operated, without any employees. More than two-thirds of American small businesses are operated solely by their owners.
When I first saw that statistic, I thought, “How can that be?” Then, I did a quick inventory of the companies I’ve used in my home. The companies that replaced my garage door and openers, installed flooring, repaired and replaced my central air conditioning, cleaned my carpets, replaced my windows, installed a new roof, cut my lawn each week, painted and remodeled my home — most were solely owner-operated.
Actually, it makes perfect sense. As a customer, I want to deal with the person doing the work, the person whose name and reputation is on the line, the person who will back up the work performed.
It makes perfect sense for the business owner too. It’s why America is the land of opportunity. If you learn plumbing at a trade school and work for a company for a while, then do some work for a few relatives or friends — you may suddenly realize you can be your own boss.
You can start your own business, do the work yourself, collect your fees, pay your bills — and at least half the time, succeed. That’s one definition of the American dream, isn’t it?
You might think there is no need for marketing if you have a one-person company, but think again. Remember, there are 30 million small businesses out there. A good amount of them are your competitors.
And as inspirational as small business success stories can be, there’s a downside also. Small business bankruptcy and closings hover at about the same 50 percent rate as divorces in America. You don’t want to be one of the businesses in that group.
If you’re just starting out with little or no budget, check out the Public Library’s Business & Investment Center to get some direction. You can also contact SCORE or the SBA and see what help is available. If you have some funds for marketing, you can hire a professional marketing firm with experience in your industry.
Yes, you can also use social media for free. But you should research the best approaches on YouTube, LinkedIn and other social media sites before you start.
If you run, or plan to run a business and be the sole employee, let smart marketing complement your good work and help ensure your success.